Outliers, Week 13

A comparison of the weekly positional rankings and the Top 200, this is an output of the players who could either have unexpected good or poor fantasy weeks.

This article will take a weekly look at players who are either undervalued or overvalued each week. The outlier value players offer is calculated by a comparison between the Top 200 forward, a look at the top 200 players with the whole season in mind, and the initial weekly Footballguys rankings. Both sources are from the Footballguys.com subscriber content. An emphasis will be on the players with the largest differences between the season outlook and this week only. Also, a preference will be given to differences for the higher ranked players. Some of these differences will be due to injury, the matchup of the week, or short-term situation.  Now, let's look at this week's outlier players. 


Kirk Cousins


  • Top 200 ranking: 8
  • Weekly ranking: 3
  • Difference: +5


Cousins gets the beaten-down Cowboys this week.  Dallas has yielded big production through the air the past few weeks.  Philip Rivers lit up this defense on Thanksgiving and it was ugly.  Cousins should look to do the same.  The Cowboys are the seventh-best matchup for opposing fantasy quarterbacks and allow Cousins to have a chance at 300 yards and 3 scores through the air.  The lack of a consistent Washington running game will only put more emphasis on Cousins making plays. 

Jared Goff


  • Top 200 ranking: 12
  • Weekly ranking: 8
  • Difference: +4


Goff has been playing at a high level this season.  This week, he and the Rams square off against the Cardinals.  Arizona is the fourth-worst defense containing fantasy passers.  In a week where many top ten quarterbacks have tough matchups, Goff makes a solid play versus an injury-plagued defense.

Matthew Stafford


  • Top 200 ranking: 4
  • Weekly ranking: 14
  • Difference: -10


Stafford is coming off a poor showing on Thanksgiving against the Vikings. Now, the Detroit passer travels to Baltimore to face the Ravens.  Baltimore is the second-best defense in limiting fantasy production to opposing quarterbacks.  Sure, he may have a good game, but the ceiling is much lower for Stafford playing on the road against a great pass defense.  Insert into the starting lineup at your own peril. 

Matt Ryan


  • Top 200 ranking: 5
  • Weekly ranking: 13
  • Difference: -8


Ryan has dearly missed offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan, this season.  The offense seems a little off its 2016 rhythm.  This week, the Falcons host the Vikings in a huge matchup for both teams.  Atlanta needs a victory to keep pace in the NFC South and the Vikings are seeking a home playoff game.  The Minnesota pass defense is fierce as evidenced by the showing on Thanksgiving Day versus the Lions.  Ryan is a low-end QB1 this week for fantasy owners against the sixth-best defense facing fantasy quarterbacks. 

Running Back

Jordan Howard


  • Top 200 ranking: 12
  • Weekly ranking: 7
  • Difference: +5


Howard is not getting many scoring opportunities this season as the Bears are running a conservative offense.  The great matchup against San Francisco this week gives a light at the end of the tunnel for Howard fantasy owners.  The 49ers are the best matchup for opposing running backs, yielding an average of 29 PPR (Point Per Reception) points per game.  It may be now-or-never time for the Bears tailback. 

Alex Collins

  • Top 200 ranking: 19
  • Weekly ranking: 12
  • Difference: +7

Collins has taken the reins of the Ravens backfield, even with Allen and Woodhead healthy.  Baltimore hosts Detroit this week in a game set up for the Ravens to run the football.  The Lions give up 27 PPR points each week to opposing running backs and Collins has a great chance to find the end zone.  He makes a great waiver wire play for Ezekiel Elliott owners desperate for an RB2 option. 

Devonta Freeman


  • Top 200 ranking: 17
  • Weekly ranking: 25
  • Difference: -8


Freeman is overvalued for a couple of reasons this week.  First, he is returning from a concussion which cost the star runner two games.  Secondly, Atlanta faces the top rush defense in Minnesota this week.  This will be a difficult matchup for Freeman, even if he does play. 

Carlos Hyde


  • Top 200 ranking: 5
  • Weekly ranking: 10
  • Difference: -5


Hyde has put up strong PPR numbers this season, even in a bad situation.  He, too, has a couple of things working against him this week.  The matchup against the Bears, in Soldier Field, will not be easy.  Also, Hoyer and Beathard targeted the veteran tailback often and it is unknown whether Garoppolo will force-feed Hyde targets like his predecessors. 

Wide Receiver

Demaryius Thomas


  • Top 200 ranking: 35
  • Weekly ranking: 20
  • Difference: +15


The Broncos are in a freefall in the standings.  The game against the Dolphins this week will be one Denver should win, especially with Trevor Siemian under center.  We would never have imagined that he would be the best option … by far … for the Broncos.  Miami has yielded big games to opposing receivers, lately, and this could be the game Thomas makes us remember he can be a stud when given the chance. 

Jamison Crowder


  • Top 200 ranking: 24
  • Weekly ranking: 15
  • Difference: +9


Crowder is coming off a monster game last week and gets another great matchup against the Cowboys.  This is the same Dallas defense that allowed Keenan Allen to go bonkers on Thanksgiving.  The Cowboys are the fifth-worst defense containing opposing receivers.  With Josh Doctson still getting up to speed and Terrelle Pryor on injured reserve, Washington has a void at the receiver position outside of the sure-handed slot receiver.  In addition, tight end Jordan Reed is not a sure thing to play as he recovers from a hamstring injury.  Crowder will get his share of targets in the contest. 

T.Y. Hilton


  • Top 200 ranking: 22
  • Weekly ranking: 33
  • Difference: -11


Hilton has struggled this season with Andrew Luck sidelined by the shoulder injury.  The speedy Hilton will get a stiff test this week against the Jaguars secondary.  This is a pass defense which is not only the tops against receivers, but almost 25% better than the next defense (Cincinnati).  It is difficult to recommend Hilton as a fantasy WR2 this week unless desperate. 

A.J. Green


  • Top 200 ranking: 5
  • Weekly ranking: 10
  • Difference: -5


Green has been an inconsistent fantasy producer this season, mostly due to the quarterback play of Andy Dalton.  The game against arch-rival Steelers will be a tough matchup for the superstar pass catcher.  Expect Pittsburgh to get physical with Green.  The Steelers are the fifth-best defense at limiting wide receiver fantasy production and will be focused on keeping Green in check. 

Tight End

Evan Engram


  • Top 200 ranking: 8
  • Weekly ranking: 6
  • Difference: +2


Engram ranks second in the league in tight end targets.  Even with the quarterback change to Geno Smith, we like the rookie’s chances of having a big game against the Raiders pass defense.  Oakland is the seventh-worst defense containing the tight end position and New York has few offensive weapons. 

Delanie Walker

  • Top 200 ranking: 6
  • Weekly ranking: 4
  • Difference: +2

Walker has been reliable in an offense that has been sporadic.  He will be a solid fantasy play against the Texans, a team who is the sixth-best matchup for opposing tight ends.  With Marcus Mariota struggling, the quarterback may lean on the veteran tight end.  For those fantasy owners looking for value outside of the big-name stars, Walker has TE1 upside this week. 

Jack Doyle

  • Top 200 ranking: 5
  • Weekly ranking: 10
  • Difference: -5

Like the rest of the Indianapolis passing game, we expect Doyle to have a rough time in Jacksonville this week.  The Jaguars play stellar pass defense and will keep the pressure on Jacoby Brissett enough that none of the Colts receivers should put up their normal numbers. 

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